Indian billionaire plans to splash out US$150 million to make Mahabharata movie

Dr B. R. Shetty said he believes he film "will not only set global benchmarks but also reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling".
Dr B. R. Shetty said he believes he film "will not only set global benchmarks but also reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling".PHOTO: WWW.BRSHETTY.COM

MUMBAI (AFP) - A Gulf-based billionaire is aiming to smash the record for the most expensive Indian movie, with a US$150 million (S$210 million) injection of funds to make a film of Hindu epic Mahabharata.

The cost of producing the two-part extravaganza is set to dwarf that of Baahubali, which is India's biggest budget film to date at around US$45 million.

"I believe that this film will not only set global benchmarks but also reposition India and its prowess in mythological storytelling," said businessman B. R. Shetty in a statement late on Monday announcing the project.

"I am confident that this film will be adapted in over 100 languages and reach over three billion people across the world," added the Indian billionaire who lives in the United Arab Emirates.

Shooting is due to start late next year with the first instalment set to hit screens in early 2020, the statement added.

It will be released in several Indian languages and dubbed for foreign audiences too.

The Mahabharata is an ancient Sanskrit story about a battle between feuding princes.

The announcement comes before the release next week of the second and final instalment of Baahubali, a Telugu- and Tamil-language film featuring elaborate battle scenes.